Amp Camp Amp
A Beautiful "Class A" Amplifier Kit
Stereo chassis or monoblocks. Easy to Build. Everything included.
Parts Kit $119 - Power Supply $49 - Chassis $149
Watt's new in the Amp Camp Amp V1.6?
We're excited to announce the latest revision of our most popular and in demand kit of all time, the Amp Camp Amp. This is a pre-order, please read more about how this pre-order works on the ACA Pre-Order Information Page.
Improvements since V1.5:
- The standalone parts kit is now more affordable than it's ever been, at just $119
- V1.6 features new and upgraded connectors and switches, including a Neutrik XLR input so you can build balanced monoblocks with twice the power!
- It's got a new high quality 24V 5A power supply, increasing power from the previous version's 5W up to 8W
- Comprehensive step-by-step ACA V1.6 build guide hosted at guides.diyaudio.com
- Just solder a few more wires to turn it into a single-ended or fully balanced monoblock with twice the power of the standard ACA!
- A front power switch (and also option not to use it)
- Black or silver front panels, and both blue or red LEDs
What Exactly is an Amp Camp Amp Anyway?
The Amp Camp Amp was created by Nelson Pass for a special event called "Amp Camp" in which 20 people built their very first amplifier from start to finish in one afternoon. The event was held outdoors on a lovely sunny day in California and all attendees walked away with a fully functioning amplifier and a smile on their dials.
Naturally, other people wanted share that same amazing experience of successfully building their first amplifier so diyAudio has created the three essential ingredients you need for that same journey - the parts, the instructions, and the community.
Read more in the Amp Camp Amp article hosted on diyAudio.
How does it sound?
Once you build the Amp Camp Amp you'll never look at power and distortion figures the same way again.
Each channel is just 8 watts, but they're very good watts. In fact Nelson's DIY endeavors are called "First Watt" because in his own words "The first watt is the most important watt". The amp has enough power for medium to high efficiency speakers at normal listening levels. They sound even better bi-amped with an active crossover.
- "Insane amount of detail, deep bass and crystal highs" - Starbender
- "Great power, bass and massive detail" - Waam68
- "Highly detailed, yet smooth and sweet" - Mitchba
- "I am amazed at the sound quality" - Neoinc
It's not just a kit, it's an education - here's why everyone is falling in love with the Amp Camp Amp:
It can take days of searching and ordering from multiple suppliers to obtain all these parts. We've done that for you. Everything you need is included, other than basic tools.
Detailed Build Guide
We've put together an all new detailed build guide for the new ACA complete with step by step photos and instructions so you're never lost. Plus, our friends at TekThing recorded a beautiful 30 minute build-video of how to put together the previous version!
Quick and Easy to Build
Even a kid can build it and many have! All you need it one afternoon and you'll have finished and be listening to a beautiful class A stereo amplifier!
The Amp Camp Amp Kit makes a stereo amplifier that sounds great - here's why
Designed by an Audio Legend - Nelson Pass
Nelson's company Pass Labs makes some of the finest (and most expensive) amplifiers in the world. This amplifier has its roots in decades of award winning amplifier design experience.
Minimalist Amplifier Topology
Less is more. Nelson is famous for his "Zen" approach to design and this amp is no exception - it's a minimalist circuit that delivers purity through simplicity.
A Pure "Class A" Design
Most amplifier designs switch transistors on and off causing noise. Class A amplifiers are always operating in their sweet spot, which is why people say they sound "silky smooth".
Save Time and Money
You could spend days or weeks trying to find the right parts, then paying over and over for shipping from multiple suppliers. Or you could buy the Amp Camp Amp kit!
So Simple You'll (Actually) Finish ItWe've got you covered with easy to follow step-by-step visual Amp Camp Amp Build Guide. There's also an amazing build-video of an earlier ACA version from TekThing showing construction from start to finish!
Benefit From New SkillsDon't sit on the sidelines - get building today! You'll learn new skills you can apply to other projects, refine your ear and duly feel pride in your accomplishment.
Enjoy Quality SoundIf you want to hear the sound of one transistor clapping this is the ticket. Dead silent, pure and luxurious. Reviews speak for themselves: "Insane detail", "deep bass", "crystal highs", "great power", "fluid", "sharp", "smooth", "sweet".
Relax Knowing This Is a Great ChoiceThe Amp Camp Amp Kit sounds like a much more expensive amplifier, is quick and easy to build, simple to understand, includes all the parts, comes with instructions, and has a wealth of support if you need it. You can't go wrong with this tried and tested project.
Meet Other Audiophile MakersAs you breathe life into these amps, they'll literally breathe it back to you! Be a part of the super friendly Amp Camp Amp maker community on diyAudio and meet other makers that share your obsession with quality sound.
A step-by-step build guide and pit crew standing by
We've just launched "diyAudio Guides" (beta), a brand new place to find and share knowledge about audio DIY. The Amp Camp Amp Build Guide is now more accessible than ever. Follow step-by-step on your phone or tablet while you're actually building the amp or printed the guide as a PDF - it's never been easier to complete your Amp Camp Amp in one sitting!
If you need more help, there's hundreds of diyAudio members who consider it their mission to help any ACA builder get their first amplifier build completed. No question is a stupid question in the ACA thread, so join in the discussion and meet other first time and veteran builders in the Amp Camp Amp discussion thread.
Watch TekThing build the ACA
What's In The Complete Kit?
- High quality genuine parts purchased directly from "Tier 1" US distributors such as Mouser and Digikey
- Printed circuit boards (Revision 1.6)
- Transistors including Linear Systems LSK170 JFETs and IRC MOSFETs
- Switches, LEDs, capacitors, resistors, we include everything
- The same parts quality that Nelson Pass uses in his own amplifiers
- Components purchased either from "Tier 1" distributors or do-it-yourself audio favorites like Parts Express
- Keratherm® MOSFET insulators - very efficient and no grease required
- M3 board mounting standoffs, w/ stainless steel bolts and washers
- Stainless steel mounting bolts and washers for MOSFETs
- Gold plated speaker terminals and RCA Jacks
- Power connector jack
- Copper hookup wire in assorted colors
- Cover plate for XLR hole (for advanced users, the XLR hole gives the possibility to create monoblocks with 15 watts per channel)
- From Meanwell, the best known producer of high quality SMPS in the world
- The power supply is universal and operates from 86-264VAC and 47-63HZ
- It comes from a best-of-breed manufacturer, has less noise, more power and weighs more than twice as much as the previous power supply
- You can read more about it on the Meanwell 24V 5A power supply page
- This new power supply is also a suitable upgrade for all previous Amp Camp Amps, just plug and play (see notes here)
- This power supply is Nelson's lab tested recommendation, but to save money you can BYO 19V or 24V 5A laptop style power supply. YMMV!
- It has a generic 3 prong IEC 60320/C13 power cord inlet suitable for use with a "kettle cord"
- We ship it with a Linvox 3271V86 6 foot cord that has a US 3 prong plug. If that plug doesn't work for you, you can use a plug adapter, or "borrow" an IEC cord from your least favorite piece of equipment.
3. The Chassis
- From the Italian chassis artisans at Hi-Fi 2000
- Custom design for the ACA / ACA parts kit
- Ships direct to you from Italy with FedEx International
- All the work done is for you - just screw it together!
- 10mm aluminum front panels drilled (dual LED holes), anodized and silkscreened with an optional hole for a front power switch
- 3mm aluminum rear panels drilled (power jack, RCA input, speaker output, power switch and XLR expansion module hole) and anodized
- 40mm aluminum heatsinks pre-drilled and pre-tapped with M3 threads for easy mounting of circuit boards
This project requires some tools.
- A good Soldering Iron and good Solder
- Digital Multi-Meter (DMM)
- Philips Screwdriver
- Needle-Nosed Pliers
- Diagonal Cutters
Nice to have
If you bought each part yourself
- Bolt Depot (Bolts) - $7.71
- Digikey (Small electronic components) - $42.43
- diyAudio Store (Keratherm, Transistors, PCBs) - $71.89
- Mouser (Power Supply and power cable) - $62.33
- Parts Express (Mounting hardware, wire, etc) - $57.18
- Customized chassis - over $200, more likely $300 including heatsink tapping
- Total: $441.54, plus a day hunting for parts and a day drilling your chassis and tapping your heatsinks
Save money, and time
To assemble this same kit yourself would cost over $440 including parts, hardware, sales tax and shipping. And you wouldn't get the tapped holes or front and rear panels drilled. And then there's your time in buying all the parts and working the chassis...
* All prices were calculated live on 11 June 2016 using real products and a shipping address of San Francisco, some prices updated May 4th 2018
|Frequency response||10 - 20 kHz +/- 0.1 dB|
|Power (stereo)||8W into 8 Ohms per channel|
|Power (monoblock)||15W into 8 Ohms per channel. See ACA operation modes for details on monoblock operation.|
|Power Measurement||Measured at clipping with 3% distortion|
|Distortion||0.7% at 1 Watt (primarily second order harmonic which being even-order is described as "sweet, tubey" and being low-order as "benign/inaudible")|
|Input impedance||10 Kohm|
|Output noise||100 uV|
|Power supply input||Universal 86-264VAC 47-63HZ|
|Power supply output||24V 5A|
|Heat dissipation||20 Watts per Channel|
The ACA is a minimalist, low power amp that's easy to build and the perfect choice for your first amp building project. It's the "fixie bike" of Class A amplifiers; no gears, no brakes; zen and the art of amplifier maintenance.
It likes efficient speakers that present an easy load to the amplifier. The right pairing will give you great sound full of audiophile buzz-words, and more than adequate volume for everyday listening or to annoy your neighbours (8W with 91db speakers gives 93db at the couch). Double the power per channel with monoblocks.
If you have a particular pair of speakers in mind, ask about them in the ACA discussion thread.
You're In Good Company
The Amp Camp Amp Kit has received coverage in these publications
The reviews speak for themselves
This is the Best "First" Amplifier Kit You Can Buy
A beautiful class A amplifier design from the master of the art with all the parts, instructions and help you need.
This appears to draw about 70 Watts quiescent power. This is less than some tube amplifiers I have owned in the past. To my ears, it sounds better than all of the amplifiers I have personally owned or still own. I agree that it is probably the simplicity, lack of negative feedback, class A biasing, and excellent discrete semiconductors employed in this design that together provide such transparent sound. I have several pairs of highly efficient loudspeakers, among them stock original Klipsch La Scalas. In all of my testing so far, I have never heard these speakers image better than they do with the ACA. Now for more listening...
I've wanted to build an amp for a very long time but have never had the courage. I finally got the courage and ordered the ACA amp kit. I'm so glad I did! The build was very enjoyable and not as difficult as I thought. The documentation was superb. The sound and build quality are excellent. It mildly reminds me of a mini version of the First Watt J2 that I own. Paired with Zu Omen IIs it really is a joy to listen to. Highly recommended build.
I think there are several reasons to build this. You get a design that you know is rock solid and guaranteed to sound good, you get high quality parts, you get an excellent idiot-proof build guide and you get excellent support if necessary. I built this over the course of two evenings and I cannot recommend it enough. The feeling of pride of having built an amplifier that sounds good and looks good is worth every penny. I know it's assembly rather than true DIY, but it inspires confidence, and that is the aim.
I have this hooked up to a pair of Monitor Audio BX5 speakers and use an O2 Objective amp as a pre-amp with my phone as a source. The room is small and the 5W per channel fill it more than adequately and the sound is fantastic. Thank you to all involved in bringing this to the community, I have definitely started on a building journey!
A very enjoyable build. The video build tutorial provided excellent instruction and tips. Built the unit in one session.
Hooked up ipod through Cambridge Audio id 100 digital dock. Clear, clean and well defined music reproduction. Hard to believe that 5 watts can resolve highs, mids and bass with this much definition. Pure class A operation. Pure listening Bliss. Next move will be to hook up to an external DAC. Thank you Nelson Pass and DIYaudio.
A nice kit and the community and build guide and help are all second to none. I am on the wait list for the chassis kit and have the boards complete but unable to go any further so, I'll comment on that then. I understand the delay and so it's not a bother, but I'm looking forward to finishing. I am planning a more ambitious build with the F5 project, but I'd like to have success with this one first,. I am new to this hobby, having a blast. I am also a very critical listener, and I record and produce fairly involved music. I am looking to build a very accurate playback system, and I have built several sets of monitors, none to my satisfaction so far, but as I said, I'm new to the hi-fi world, but an old hand in the world of pro audio.
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* For non-contiguous US states please contact us directly for a quotation.